‘Unusual’ sign of lung cancer the size of a cherry tomato

Having been a chain smoker for many years, Rick didn’t think much about it when he developed a chest infection. “I used to get winter chest infections, maybe once or twice a year,” Rick recalled. But one day, a chest infection seemed to him “particularly severe.”

“I had an unusual cough, not at all like the smoker’s cough that I experienced,” Rick recalled.

“It was a sharp cough that was not productive, despite the fact that my chest was very congested and it was difficult for me to breathe.”

Rick admitted: “At the time, I didn’t think it could be cancer.”

Feeling “indifferent” when he made an appointment with his GP, Rick expected “a course of antibiotics to help get rid of the infection.”

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“But my GP insisted that I do a chest x-ray that same day, which I did,” Rick told

The doctors, who were advised to finish the course of antibiotics and schedule another X-ray, noticed a nodule the size of a cherry tomato on Rick’s right lung.

“A few days later I received an invitation to visit the Robert Ogden MacMillan Center in Harrogate,” said Rick.

“I came to the appointment accompanied by my wife Kristin and was told that I would need to undergo a series of additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.”

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After a CT scan, a PET scan, and a lung biopsy “in quick succession,” the doctors confirmed that Rick had cancer.

Needing a lobectomy to remove the tumor followed by chemo, Rick and Christina “decided to talk things over with [their] three adult children.

“I have also informed all my friends, colleagues and relatives of my diagnosis,” Rick said.

“And the huge wave of support has been instrumental in making my cancer journey more bearable.”

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Rick shared his own “feeling of dread and absolute horror” when he was first diagnosed with lung cancer.

“But with a lot of help and support from the Macmillan Lung Cancer Specialist Nurses, I was able to come to terms with the situation,” Rick said.

Rick enjoyed 18 months of remission, and then another tumor surfaced, which he managed to defeat.

“Now I have CT scans twice a year and see oncologists.”

Rick feels “very lucky” that his cancer was discovered “very early” and that he is here “nearly seven years after his original diagnosis”.

The family man added: “I am dedicated to spreading the word that early diagnosis is critical to long-term survival in your cancer journey.

“That’s why I’m so passionate about supporting the NHS England ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign, which encourages anyone who has been coughing for three or more weeks to make an appointment with their GP.

“Probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable.”

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